18 October 2017 – El Confidencial
One of the wealthiest families in France has set its sights on Spain’s tourism market. The Ruggieri family, owner of the Batipart Group, reached an agreement in August with the also French firm Eurosic to purchase the Socimi that that firm had created in Spain, and has now renamed the entity Elaia Investment Spain.
After taking over 66% of the vehicle, Batipart has put all of the wheels in motion to enable the company to make its debut on the stock market before the end of the year, just like its previous owner had planned.
In this new business venture, Ruggieri is accompanied by Euler Hermès, owner of 13.81% of the Socimi; Allianz Invest Pierra, owner of another 9.21%; and around twenty individual investors who own the remainder of the share capital.
Elaia owns twelve real estate assets in Spain, primarily hotels and tourist apartments, although it also owns two residential properties in Madrid, on the centric streets Bailén and Atocha.
The Socimi focuses on three-and four-star category hotels and on taking advantage of the boom in tourist apartments. It owns two assets of each type in Mallorca and a hotel and two apartment blocks in Málaga, whilst, in Cataluña, it owns a hotel in Roses (Gerona), one tourist rental building in Barcelona and another in Estartir (Gerona).
In total, the Socimi has invested €145 million so far acquiring its portfolio, although its objective is to reach €280 million. To that end, it is currently holding talks with various investors, whose contributions will range between €10 million and €30 million.
When it debuts on the MAB, Elaia expects to have a market capitalisation of €120 million, a figure that will make it one of the largest Socimis on the market. The company will be managed by Elaia Management Spain, a subsidiary of Batipart, and the plan is to undertake some of its expansion together with Pierre & Vacances, its main partner in Spain.
The Socimi’s roadmap foresees it continuing with its intense asset acquisition policy for the next year or so, before spending the following two years repositioning those assets. The divestment phase is expected to be activated from 2021 onwards and that strategy is expected to be carried out on an asset by asset basis, culminating in 2024, with a forecast rate of return (IRR) of 15%.
The Batipart Group was founded in 1988 by Charles Ruggieri, who was born in Italy but who settled in France many years ago, where he is one of the top 100 wealthiest people in the country, with a net worth of around €900 million. A historical shareholder of Eurosic, in June, he agreed to sell his 24% in the real estate company to Gecina, in exchange for taking ownership of all of the leisure, health and hotel assets in the portfolio, including Elaia, worth €463 million in total.
That agreement was signed on 29 August, which is when Batipart took control of the Spanish Socimi. Moreover, the group owned by the Ruggieri family also has a presence in the nursing home sector, through the Korian Group, and it owns six hotels in Africa.
Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)
Translation: Carmel Drake